The Hidden Gem of Luang Prabang - The Pottery Village
Luang Prabang: A beautiful, well-known touristic little city. Fairly modern. You can find huge mansions here, hundreds of tourists and almost everyone speaks English well enough to communicate with the many travellers that pass through every day. But not for away from the hectic of the city, just across the river, there lies a completely different world.
For the small fee of 5000 Kip (50ct), you can take the ferry to the other side of the Mekong. The ride is short, less than five minutes, but it teleports you to a much more rural and unknown side of Luang Prabang.
Even though there are plenty of things to see and do on this side of the river, hardly any tourist ever makes their way to Chomphet District. Take a closer look at the map. Wouldn't you love to explore this off-beaten track? We surely did! For our adventure, we decided to visit the pottery village Ban Chan, which is about 3km away from the pier.
After a long walk, we finally arrived at the village. The way there was long but beautiful. We would come across small farms, huts, even monks. It is so fascinating to me how different this side of the river is. You go from a busy city to a quiet rural area within the blink of an eye. We definitely enjoyed our hike!
Once we arrived in Ban Chan, we made our way to the Pottery Demonstration and Exhibition Center. You can even take pottery classes there if you want. We didn't do that though. The Exhibition centre is huge, much more than we expected to find, but most of it is still empty. We assume that the village is currently preparing for future tourists who will surely storm this place as soon as the word gets around.
After such a long journey, we started to feel quite hungry. We saw a sign saying "restaurant 20m" but we couldn't see anything that remotely resembled any eating establishment. We went from hut to hut, repeating the word "restaurant" but people didn't seem to understand what we wanted. Finally, we reached a house that had a small barbeque going on right outside. Surely we could buy food there, right? We were welcomed in the most friendly way possible. Truth be told, I am still not sure if we actually found the restaurant we were looking for or if we just accidentally crashed someone's family dinner. But the people were nice and accommodating and the food was truly amazing!
After our dinner, the cook and presumably the owner of the house offered us to take us back to the other side for 10,000 Kip each in his fishing boat. He would drive us directly from the village, no need to walk back to the main pier. Deal! Not only did we get a ride in his boat, but he also showed us the most amazing sunset from the river.
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